Spain History – The Hingdom of Grenade
This state lived for more than two centuries. Pressed, on the one hand, by the Christian monarchs and, on the other, by the BanuMerīn of Africa, he was able to avail himself of the help of the Berbers to oppose the Christians – who, moreover, after the death of Ferdinand III and James I mitigated their own enthusiasm and were distracted by very serious civil wars, – and by the aid of the Catholics to avoid the upper hand of the Africans. Moreover, the Christian monarchs many times interested the Naṣrids and Banu-Merīn in their own quarrels or participated in their internal struggles; and, availing themselves of their help, or intervening in their affairs, or accepting their tribute, they placed them on their own level and attenuated the traditional antagonism. Finally, the kingdoms of Portugal and Aragon – the latter especially for the treaties concluded with Castile,a priori they attributed to the Castilians the possession of the territories that would be conquered from the Muslim kingdom – no longer interested in the enterprise, they began to abandon the theater of war. And the Castilian and Muslim forces ended up balancing. Thus, the struggle lasted for seventy years to cut communications between Africa and the kingdom of Grenade, isolate the latter and definitively drive the Banu-Merīn, who had occupied some centers of Andalusia, back beyond the Strait of Gibraltar. like Tarifa, Algeciras, Ronda, and threatened to renew the exploits of the Almohads. Tarifa was conquered in 1292, and heroically defended for years by Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno. But in 1309 the league concluded against Grenade by Ferdinand IV of Castile, James II of Aragon and the Banu-Merīn did not reach its purpose: if Fernando could take possession of Gibraltar, however the square returned to Muslim rule in 1333, and the siege placed in Almeria by Giacomo and miserably finished it was the last Aragonese enterprise against the Mohammedan kingdom. And it was only on October 30, 1340 that, with the help of Alfonso IV of Portugal, Alfonso XI of Castile was able to defeat the troops of the king of Granada and the Banu-Merīn at the Río Salado; on 27 March 1344, with the help of English, German and French knights, conquer Algeciras; and to remove forever the threat of an offensive return to Spain by Africans. But, from then on, the struggle against the kingdom of Grenade became sterile in a guerrilla of little importance, supported mostly by the border populations and hired by the monarchs as a means of obtaining money and popularity: there were few events of any importance, such as the conquest of Antequera (1410), the so-called battle of the Higueruela near Granata at the time of Don Alvaro de Luna (1431), the occupation of Huéscar (1435) and Huelma (1438), the reconquest of Gibraltar (1462) by the first duke of Medina Sidonia.. The kingdom of Granata was destroyed by the Catholic kings only in 1492 and with the combined forces of Castile and Aragon, now collaborating in perfect agreement and under a single direction. the so-called battle of the Higueruela near Granata at the time of don Alvaro de Luna (1431), the occupation of Huéscar (1435) and Huelma (1438), the reconquest of Gibraltar (1462) by the first duke of Medina Sidonia.. The kingdom of Granata was destroyed by the Catholic kings only in 1492 and with the combined forces of Castile and Aragon, now collaborating in perfect agreement and under a single direction. the so-called battle of the Higueruela near Granata at the time of don Alvaro de Luna (1431), the occupation of Huéscar (1435) and Huelma (1438), the reconquest of Gibraltar (1462) by the first duke of Medina Sidonia.. The kingdom of Granata was destroyed by the Catholic kings only in 1492 and with the combined forces of Castile and Aragon, now collaborating in perfect agreement and under a single direction.
The Arabs who invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 did not find there a civilization in full organic development, but a society in turbid and disordered conditions, in which the Visigoths ruling the Romanized population had appropriated some elements of classical civilization, but they did not have any. assimilated or elaborated the spiritual inheritance; so that the almost entirely complete decay of the ancient world had not yet been replaced by that synthesis of the Roman and Germanic elements that marks the formation of medieval civilization. These conditions were essentially the same in the rest of Western Europe; except that in Spain the formative process of the Middle Ages was abruptly modified by the intrusion of a new factor, which for many centuries predominated in an almost absolute way over the others. The invaders, however, from the beginning they did not introduce a superior civilization, already fully developed: the beginning of the religious-cultural transformation caused by Islam in Anterior Asia was too recent for the militias of Tāriq to propagate it in Roman-Visigothic Spain. Therefore the first times of the Arab occupation (difficult and hard times also due to the continuous external and internal wars) were not marked by an intense cultural activity; nor did the Arabs, an army stationed in a conquered country, have close contacts with the subjugated population. However, in the course of time, that surprising unity which characterizes the development of Islamic civilization despite the immense territorial extension, meant that the same guidelines, the same phenomena typical of the history of Islām in the East were also found in the West. The crystallization of poetry into archaic forms and the formation on the one hand of an art prose arising from the ancient eloquence of the desert and fixed in a merely rhetorical style, on the other hand of a sober and effective scientific prose; the collection ofcorpus of normative traditions dating back to Muhammad and the emergence, on the basis of them, of theological, ritual and juridical systems; the political-religious struggles that, born from dynastic disputes, resulted in antagonistic attitudes in the consideration of the greatest religious, philosophical, political, social problems: all the phenomena of the flourishing development of Islamic civilization manifest themselves in Spain a few years after their first appear in Syria and Irāq.
The direct relations between the two extremes of the Islamic empire do not cease even with the political split of this one: while not many, but still not infrequent, are the trips of Orientals to Spain, very frequent are those made in the East by Spaniards, especially by scholars who go in search of the most authentic sources of religious and worldly sciences; not a few are the Spaniards who, from ancient times and then always up to the complete re-Christianization of Spain, settled definitively in Africa or Asia. The Spanish Islamic civilization is therefore not substantially different from that of the other regions where Islam claimed supremacy, and its particular aspect comes to it, rather than from its intrinsic nature, from the influence it has exercised on Christian Europe.
Naturally, since the Islamic civilization from its most vital centers spread to Spain through Egypt and North Africa, the character of Spanish Islam is closer to that of these two religions, and above all of the second (also in Spain, for example, the Mālikite juridical system ended up prevailing), and, no less naturally, the cultural movement, precisely because it is reflected and not spontaneous, has less originality and less importance in Spain than in the East. But the early political detachment of the peninsula from the caliphal unity, after the Umayyad dynasty, suppressed in the East, took refuge in it and regained power, made it an autonomous center of culture, while not severing, as we have seen, the spiritual ties with remaining Islamic world. At the court of the Umayyad emirs, a patronage similar to that of the court of Baghdād is found and it intensified in the century. X, the age of maximum splendor of Muslim Spain, when the Umayyad caliphate is proclaimed, in conscious antagonism both with the Orthodox one of Baghdād and with the heretical one of the Fātimites of Egypt. The impulse given to culture by the caliphs ‛Abd ar-Raḥmān III and al-Ḥakam II (of which the great library, dedicated above all to the secular sciences is still famous) was immense, and although the surviving literary monuments of this era are not very numerous, their influence is felt in later literature. Characteristic of the continuity of science across time and space, no less than the zeal nurtured for it by Spanish Arabism.
The emergence in Spain of an Arab-Jewish culture is also from this period: the Jews, already numerous under the Roman, Vandalic and Visigothic dominions, took advantage of the greater tolerance of Islamic religious law compared to Christian one to forge close relations with the rulers and to develop their national tradition in forms borrowed from the Arabs, of which they imitated all literary genres (both in poetry and prose of art as in theology and philosophy, in science and grammar), sometimes adopting the language itself of the Arabs, especially in scientific and philosophical works, at other times keeping their own, especially in the poetic ones, not without undergoing strong Arabic influences in the style and vocabulary.
But another element foreign to the Arabs, and much more numerous and important, was influenced by their civilization: that of the indigenous population. There was not in Spain (nor would the diversity of conditions have allowed it) a phenomenon analogous to the penetration of Persian culture among the Arabs: the Romanized natives were, compared to the conquerors, rather receptive than active. However, they did not allow themselves to be completely absorbed, as was the case in the whole area between Iraq and Morocco: they kept their language and, above all, their religion, being the majority of the population (despite numerous conversions) remained faithful to Christianity. Even if the thesis of J. Ribera Tarragó followed by today’s Spanish Arabists contains some exaggeration.